Sponsored by Glisshop
Winter is back and you just realized you promised yourself you’d buy a new pair of skis this year.
Problem is, there are so many different skis available online that you don’t even know where to begin. Glisshop made a quick guide to help you narrow your search and refine your needs.

The very first thing you want to define is the category of your skis, or their range of use. Generally speaking there are 4 main categories. Piste, freestyle, all-mountain, and freeride. There is a fifth one in which fall touring skis but these being very specific, we’ll focus on the 4 first ones designed for downhill skiers.

Piste skis are, as their name suggest, designed for skiing on piste only. They usually are the narrowest skis with a width ranging from 70 to 80mm under the foot. A narrower waist allows for faster edge to edge transfers and more precision throughout the turns. Piste-specific skis often feature a tip to tail camber providing stability, response and traction on groomed snow.

© Aaron Dodds 2016
If you happen to ride on piste but you like to hop off it from time to time to enjoy freshly fallen snow, then you fall in the all-mountain category. All-mountain skis are a bit wider (80 up to 90mm wide). A wider underfoot platform allows for more support on softer snow and delivers added stability on uneven terrain. All-mountain skis are generally rockered with a touch of underfoot camber. This mix gives them both traction on hard snow and floatation on softer conditions.

If groomers and carved turns are not your thing, then you probably want a pair of freeride skis. Designed for skiing off piste, freeride skis are wide and powerful, suited for busting through crud and flying over powder surface. Featuring a waist width over 90mm (up to 130mm) and generally equipped with a long rockered tip (and tail), freeride skis are very floaty and manoeuvrable in rough conditions. However, they tend to chatter at high speed and don’t like much hard snow conditions.

The last category of freestyle skis aims for creative riders who tend to get bored on the slopes. Freestyle skis are designed for performing tricks, skiing switch (rearwards), sliding on rails and more generally for playing around. Featuring a twin-tip shape (symmetrical) and a poppy and lively construction, freestyle skis are sturdy, balanced and feel very nimble. They can be used in terrain parks but work perfectly on groomed snow and side hits.

When you’ve made your mind on what type of skis you need, then you want to define your skills or level. Try to be as honest as possible, if you over or underestimate it, then you’ll end up with skis that are not suited for you. Get beginner skis when you’re expert and you won’t be able to ski as fast as you can, skis will feel wobbly and unstable. Get a pair of expert freeride skis when you’re a beginner and you will struggle make them turn, they’ll feel heavy, bulky and you’ll wear yourself out within day 1.

According to your level and type of skier, you should be able to define the length for your skis, you can also check out our ski size calculator. This should help you narrow it down to a few models only. Each will have its own specifications and the first you want to check is the price of course. Price is also a good indicator of the ski quality. The more you spend, the better the construction.

Read our full guide on Glisshop